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San Francisco

Bay Area

Rug Society


january 2010


Uzbek and Kyrgyz Weavings of Central Asia:
Tent and Animal Trappings

Dennis Marquand

Friday, February 12, 2010

Reception begins 6:30 PM. Program starts at 7:15PM

Krimsa Gallery
2190 Union street, San Francisco

(Nearest parking: garage at 2000 Union ; public parking three blocks away on Pierce between Lombard and Chestnut)

Bring your Uzbek, Kyrgyz and other non-Turkmen Central Asian weavings for Show and Tell.

Dennis Marquand, a native southern Californian, is best known as the leading dealer in carpet and textile books. But he is also one of the major collectors of small Central Asian, non-Turkmen trappings and other weavings, particularly from the Uzbek and Kyrgyz tribes, as well as from Karakalpak and other little known weaving groups (Arabs, Aymaqs, etc).

Dennis developed an interest in Oriental rugs while in college and for the last 40 years has been buying, selling, studying and collecting tribal rugs and trappings. He has a BA from Cal Sate Northridge and an MA from USC. He is a charter member of the Textile Museum Associates of Southern California and has participated in national and international oriental carpet events as a dealer and speaker. Since 1985 he has dealt in books on oriental rugs,

ethnographic textiles and the people who made them. He currently works with his son Wesley and together they operate the premier source of literature on the subject and act as the distributor for the publications of the International Conference on Oriental Carpets.

As interest in the non-Turkmen weavings from Central Asia has grown over the past decade, a number of dedicated collectors are beginning to help the carpet and textile community better understand the rich ethnic heritage of this region and to try to analyze, categorize and appreciate the differences between these groups. Dennis Marquand's Show and Tell of weavings from his collection will further this project. We are still at the very beginning of a proper understanding of the weavings of these many ethnic and tribal groups similar to where the carpet community was in the late 1960's with Turkmen weavings.

Dennis has offered the following comment:

Because of the processes of migration, conquest, intermarriage, and assimilation, many of the peoples that now inhabit Central and Southwest Asia are of mixed origins, often stemming from fragments of many different tribes, though they speak closely related Turkic languages. The formerly nomadic peoples of Central Asia were pastoralists and lived in portable round yurts which they could set up and take down quickly to migrate with their flocks. Primarily known for their felted, embroidered and otherwise flat-woven textiles and animal trappings, the non-Turkmen people of Central Asia also wove piled pieces, which decorated their tents and animals.

Peter Poullada's Short Guide

To Central Asian Tribal Ethno-history.

Who are the Uzbeks? To paraphrase Prof, Yuri Bregel, the foremost scholar of Central Asian history, the name "Uzbek" as an ethnic marker appeared in the Islamic sources in the 14th century at the time of the breakdown of the Mongol world empire, particularly in the eastern portions of the Golden Horde (an area known as the "Ulus of Jochi" or realm of Jochi Khan) which extended from Lake Balkash to the Caspian Sea and north into Western Siberia. There is disagreement among scholars as to the actual origin of the name but generally a consensus that it relates the various tribes (in some sources as many as ninety-two different Turco-Mongol groupings) under the rule of Ozbek Khan, the early 14th century ruler of the Golden Horde and descendant of Chinggis Khan's son Jochi Khan.

During the conquest of Central Asia (Trans-Oxiana ) and of Khorezm ( the region south of the Aral Sea and of the Oxus river delta) in the early 16th century under the leadership of Shibani Khan, who was himself a descendant

of Chinggis, a substantial number of the tribal groups of the Ulus of Jochi

migrated into the river valleys and oases of what is now Uzbekistan, Northern Afghanistan, Tajikistan, southern Kazakhstan and parts of Kyrgyzstan. It was these tribal groupings that became known as "Uzbeks," as distinct from the same tribes who remained in the steppes to the north and who came to be known as Kazakhs. During the 16th and 17th centuries the Uzbek tribes that had accompanied Shibani Khan provided the base of power for his descendants and relatives in ruling the Khanate of Bukhara, and areas of northern Afghanistan. They gradually occupied many parts of the irrigated zones, oases, urban areas and adjacent steppe regions already inhabited by Tajik-speaking groups as well as ethnically-mixed urban groups known as Sarts and various other Turco-Mongol tribal groupings that had preceded the Uzbeks. A careful review of the various lists of tribes that comprised the Uzbeks (see Yuri Bregel, 2003) shows that at east 30 appear in the regions of Central Asia and northern Afghanistan in the 19th century while many of the same names also represent the core tribal groupings of both the Kazakhs and the Kyrgyz. In the western portions of what is today Kyrgyzstan and especially in the Ferghana valley, a nexus of inter-ethnic mixing, the same tribal names are to be found among both Uzbeks and Kyrgyz, helping to explain why it may be difficult to easily differentiate the weavings of the two groups.

Who are the Kyrgyz? Prof. Bregel, provides the following summary. The name Kyrgyz is first mentioned as an ethnic group in the 9th century living in the regions of the upper Yenesei River in Siberia and Mongolia. They then re-appear after the breakdown of the Mongol World Empire in the Tien Shan regions in the 15th century, apparently representing a mixture of Yenesei Kyrgyz and other Turco-Mongol tribal groupings that are also found among the Uzbeks and Kazakhs, such as the Nayman, Qongurat, Qipchaq and Qangli. By the 19th century they were scattered across the Tien Shan mountains, eastern Ferghana valley and in Chinese Turkestan. In terms of tribal divisions they organized themselves into three main groups: the Right Wing ( Ong Kanat) and Left Wing ( Sol Kanat) of the Thirty Sons (Otuz Oghul) and the Inner Kyrgyz ( Ichkilik) which was made up of fragments of tribes common to the Uzbeks and Kazakh. In fact it is these Ichkilik tribes that were the principal group that produced the piled weavings and trappings that we collect today.

Handouts drawn from Bregel's Historical Atlas of Central Asia on the Uzbeks and Kyrgyz tribes will be provided to all attendees.

Last Call for ACOR Volunteers All members with an interest in assisting ACOR to organize and run the conference proposed for the Bay Area in February 2011 should urgently contact Tom Hubbard to volunteer or make constructive suggestions. E-mail
Upcoming Events

February 9

February 12, 13, 14

February 13

Those who missed Sandra Niessen’s excellent presentation to SFBARS last September on Batak textiles of Indonesia have the opportunity to hear the talk at Krimsa Gallery, 2190 Union Street, San Francisco, from 5:30 to 7:30. It is sponsored by the Textile Arts Council; $5 charge for non-members.

Ms. Niessen has recently published Legacy in Cloth: Batak Textiles of Indonesia.

Tribal and Textile Arts Show, Fort Mason, San Francisco: dealers from around the world exhibit and sell of art and artifacts of indigenous peoples.

The deYoung Museum will be holding two important events in conjunction with the Tribal Arts Show. The first, sponsored by the Textile Arts Council, is a talk by Alberto Levi at 10 AM in the Koret Auditorium entitled "Primitivism and Abstraction in Persian Tribal Flatweaves.” For details see the TAC web site

The same day, at 7:00 p.m., the Museum and SFBARS will present Professor Walter Denny giving the annual Caroline McCoy-Jones Memorial Lecture, “The Turkmen Carpet and the Classical Tradition: Nomadic Themes in Islamic Art.” All SFBARS members should have received invitations from TAC to the lecture and the reception which starts at 6:30 at the Museum. For additional information, contact Jill D'Alessandro at the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, email

March 19 Behind the Scenes: The George & Marie Hecksher Textile Conservation Center. At 1:30 p.m., textile Conservators Sarah Gates and Beth Szuhay of the de Young Museum are offering a specialized tour. This is a rare opportunity for the public to see how professional museum staff care for, store, and prepare the Museum’s textile collection for exhibit. The conservation laboratory consists of a space for examination and stitched treatments, a space for aqueous treatments, and a dye lab. Participants will get to see the state-of-the-art facilities and the specialized equipment, including the dye machine partially funded by TAC members’ donations to conservation. $30 per person. Space is strictly limited, so reserve quickly.
April 22 SFBARS meeting: Jeff Spur from Harvard and the New England Rug Society will be speaking at Emmett Eiland's Gallery in Berkeley on "Style and Identity, People or Place: The Case for Lakai Suzanis," a talk about the Central Asian embroideries.
Gallery Exhibit Thomas Cole has an exhibition of Baluch weavings from Persia and Afghanistan through February 20 in his new gallery space in Marin County. The weavings range from main carpets to small animal trappings, as well as some flat weaves from SE Persia and Baluchistan. The gallery is open by appointment (415 4991652), located just a mile west of Hwy 101off Lucas Valley Rd. in northern Marin County. Antique Tribal Rugs & Textile Art,
Silk Road Exhibit The American Museum of Natural History in New York is presenting “Traveling the Silk Road: Ancient Pathway to the Modern World” through August 15. For museum information, got to For a review of the exhibit, see
Membership Renewal Don’t forget to renew your membership; we now keep memberships on an annual basis, starting the first of the year. A form is attached for your use. We also welcome new members, if you wish to pass it to someone else.

SFBARS Board Members

Peter Poullada President

Jon Eldan Secretary

Renee Rausin Treasurer

Jacqueline Van Lang Membership

Elizabeth Shedd Newsletter

Hillary Dumas Webmaster

Ben Benayan

Jim Dixon

Sandra Whitman

Murray Eiland, M.D. Emeritus

Pat Leiser Emerita

John Sommer, M.D. Emeritus

Members may contact Peter Poullada at

The San Francisco Bay Area Rug Society is a nonprofit organization whose publications and events are supported by your subscriptions. Individual subscriptions are $40 annually, $60 for two people at the same address. Please send renewals, address changes, or subscriptions to Jacqueline Van Lang, SFBARS Membership, 6 Muir Ave., Piedmont, CA 94610. For more information about SFBARS, including information about membership, an archive of past Newsletter articles, rug pictures and other features, please explore the SFBARS website at

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